The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 10, 2013

Local briefs 4/11/2013

Jerome trucker in critical condition

SLIPPERY ROCK – A Jerome man was injured critically around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in an accident involving three tractor-trailers on Route 8 north of Slippery Rock.

Donald Walker, 71, was taken by medical helicopter to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, Ohio, where he was listed in critical condition Wednesday night.

Walker was southbound and following a vehicle that slowed to make a left turn onto Station Road, state police said. Walker applied the brakes and swerved to avoid the vehicle, but his rig jackknifed and traveled into the path of a northbound rig, police said. The northbound truck hit Walker’s truck and then struck a bridge abutment. A truck following Walker was not able to avoid striking the rear of Walker’s rig before hitting an embankment, police said.

Neither of the other drivers was injured, police said.

Firefighters start fund to aid family

WINDBER – A fire that left a family of six homeless Tuesday has been ruled accidental, Windber Fire Department’s assistant chief said.

The department is rallying around Gina Hillegas’ family by setting up a fund to help replace items lost in the fire. Hillegas is an emergency medical technician with Windber-based Northern EMS.

Assistant Chief Bob Haddad said the family lost their furniture, children’s toys “and just about everything else” in the fire.

The home was insured, but the family was unable to salvage much more than the clothes on their backs, he said, noting that even a daughter’s trophies from horse shows were destroyed.

Donations can be sent to the Gina M. Hillegas Fire Fund at any Somerset Trust Co. bank branch, Haddad said.

The fire department plans to post clothing sizes for the family on its website,

Man had portable meth lab, police say

MEYERSDALE – A Meyersdale man faces drug charges after police said they found a portable meth lab stashed in his duffel bag.

State police in Somerset said Larry Wilt Jr. was arrested after police found a bag near Miller Run Road on March 24.

The case remains under investigation, police said.

Basket party will benefit senior center

A basket party to benefit the Johnstown Senior Activity Center, 550 Main St., will be held at noon Saturday.

Tickets, which are $5, include 25 basket tickets, lunch, cookies and coffee.

An additional 25 basket tickets are available for $5.

Nearly 30 baskets are expected to be given way.

Proceeds will benefit the center’s activities and programs.

For more information, call 535-8634.

Blood drive honoring local cancer patient

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive in support of Brian Mahon from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at The Galleria mall in Richland Township.

The drive will take place near Aunt Annie’s Pretzels.

Mahon, who lives in Richland, was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in November and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

 To schedule an appointment for this or any other American Red Cross blood drive, call 800-RED CROSS (733-2767) or visit

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